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DUI Law Changes

Recent WV DUI Law Changes (Deferral, Interlock, First Offense)

This page covers three different changes in WV DUI laws that are very important to DUI penalties and consequences. In a 4-year period, the WV Legislature altered our state DUI laws three times: in 2012, 2014 and 2016. Read this entire page to better understand WV DUI laws.

West Virginia DUI Deferral Program

In 2012, the West Virginia legislature amended West Virginia laws to include a WV DUI Deferral Program on a first offense DUI where the BAC is < .15, and where the citizen has zero prior DUI criminal or administrative history. This is commonly referred to as the “West Virginia DUI Deferral Program,” whereby the citizen enters a conditional guilty plea in the criminal court that the court does not enter on the driver’s permanent record.

The person using the deferral program also must concurrently agree not to contest the administrative license revocation proceeding, and agree to go 15 days without any driving at all, followed by 165 days of installation and maintenance of an interlock device in the citizen’s vehicle.

Upon completion of all conditions of the deferral program in WV, the DUI charge is dismissed, and 1 year from the dismissal date the WV DUI lawyer for the citizen can have the arrest record expunged and the fingerprint card destroyed by order of the presiding magistrate or circuit judge. This is then forwarded to the county clerk for expunction of the arrest record on state criminal databases in West Virginia.

WV DUI Ignition Interlock Program

Changes in WV laws have limited the ignition interlock options for a DUI WV. In 2014 the WV legislature, in Senate Bill 434, amended the interlock statute of WV Code, whereby the citizen can elect not to contest the revocation of his or her driver’s license due to a DUI charge, and then elect to do the entire revocation period on a WV DMV test and lock program.

For example, a first-offense aggravated (BAC > .15) can elect to not contest the revocation of his or her driver’s license, and do 10.5 months of interlock instead of a 45-day hard revocation and 9 months of interlock. In other words, there would be no actual hard revocation of the driver’s license. This applies to all the various types of DUI charges on the administrative side of the case.

The only exception to this new interlock law is a conviction for DUID (DUI Drugs). In that scenario, the citizen is facing a 6-month suspension of his or her driver’s license, which can be reinstated after 90 days provided the DUI license course (DUI school) has been completed.

However, a DUI drugs 2nd offense is extremely harsh, since the revocation period is five years. A 3rd offense DUI drugs in WV is ten years. Plus, no DUI drugs offense — whether DUI first offense, 2nd DUI or third DUI in West Virginia — has any provisions for favorable WV DMV interlock usage.

What Happens to First-Time DUI Offenders in West Virginia Under Current DUI Laws?

In 2016, the WV legislature enacted legislation that amended the 2012 “first time DUI offender” Deferral Disposition Program statute to eliminate from eligibility any citizen who refused to submit to the secondary chemical test (i.e., the breath alcohol machine) after he or she was arrested for DUI. Like many other states, the West Virginia Legislature sought to punish a drunk driving suspect with a DUI refusal. This new WV DUI law that affects 1st offense DUI took effect on June 17, 2016.

Prior to this effective date, a first offense DUI who had never previously been charged with DUI anywhere in America in his or her lifetime, but who refused alcohol breath testing when arrested, was also eligible for the deferral program. That favorable law has now been taken away for any driver with a DUI refusal.

Lastly, citizens who hold an out-of-state driver’s license are treated the exact same way on the administrative side of a drunk driving or drugged driving arrest, with the exact same procedures and reinstatement requirements. Many non-residents passing through WV, or who have moved here from other states may have been told that a DUI refusal was the smart choice if ever suspected of DUI-DWI. That advice is common in South Carolina, Florida and Texas, and (to a lesser degree) in Georgia and Alabama.

Regardless of where you are licensed, for a DUI 1st offense, 2nd DUI offense, or even a 3rd DUI, West Virginia will impose the same DUI penalties and driver’s license suspension periods and will report this to your home state DPS, DMV, SOS BMV, or DDS office.

Hire the Best DUI Lawyer for Your WV DUI Case

If you need a West Virginia lawyer to help you save your driver’s license and get the most favorable result for you in a WV DUI case, that WV attorney will be Harley O. Wagner, a DUI specialist and highest rated by Super Lawyers and AVVO among criminal attorneys in Martinsburg WV. His criminal law practice is STATEWIDE, so call him to learn what he can do to help you.

Obtain your FREE lawyer consultation with The Wagner Law Firm, to let him guide your path through fighting this drunk driving case. The professional DUI WV case assessment is FREE and you can shift this burden off your shoulders and onto the shoulders of a highly-acclaimed drunk driving attorney in Martinsburg WV – Harley Wagner.

The Wagner Law Office staff are ready and willing to show you the path to successfully resolving your WV drunk driving case. Call now by dialing (304) 461-6000.

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